If you’re a recent convert to my books, you might not know I write genres other than romantic suspense. One of my favorites to write is paranormal.
Today, I have a re-release of a book I wrote for Ellora’s Cave back in the day. I’ve done some revising, naturally. It’s a f/f romance, so it might not be your cup of tea. However, it is magickal, creepy, sexy—and set in New Orleans and in a voodoo purgatory. If you’re still not convinced you want to give it a try, it’s FREE for KU subscribers!
Plus, I have a new pre-order up! It’s the next story in the Beaux Rêve Coven series, which features my five witches living on a Louisiana bayou with so many demon beaus they’re tripping over them! Check it out below!
Enjoy the long weekend! ~DD
A f/f paranormal novelette…
Ingrid Kassel is a fledgling witch, uncertain and not in complete control of her powers, especially after drinking a double-shot of vampire blood. Charged with retrieving an object buried with a daughter of the Voodoo Queen–she angers the spirit guarding the tomb and finds herself entering a shadowy limbo, where she meets beautiful Marie, living in fear of a demon who also desires the black magic candle infused with the powerful mambo’s blood.
In desperation, Marie tricks Ingrid, capturing her and seducing her to charge the candle for her own bid for freedom.
Excerpt from Mambo’s Door…
A drunk on the sidewalk bumped past Ingrid Kassel.
Instinctively, she turned her head and issued a hiss, baring teeth. Not that she had fangs to back up the warning, but her temper simmered at a slow, angry boil, and her reactions weren’t entirely her own. A single taste of blood had ignited a hunger for more, it seemed, and the loss of control pissed her off.
If this was what it felt like to be a vampire, it was a damn good thing she was a witch.
Ever since Magda, the coven’s priestess, had given her Elena Csintalan’s blood to drink to lend her strength for her quest, Ingrid had fought to retain a sense of self.
The moment the viscous fluid had slid down her throat the ground had swayed, shifting under her feet. Magda had urged her to drink more, her vivid eyes glinting with excitement.
With a dizzy shake of her head, Ingrid’s sight had changed—shadowy corners resolving into stark relief. Her sense of smell had refined so that, now, she could still detect the sour odor of cheap whiskey emanating from the skin of the drunk even though he’d shuffled around the corner. A feeling of invulnerability, of superhero strength, burned through her blood, hardening her muscles. She felt ready to test her newfound but temporary powers on the first person who looked at her crosswise.
And that just wasn’t her. Or if it was, she’d been really good at being a quiet, dutiful girl for so long that she’d convinced herself she wasn’t a grumpy badass.
Ingrid checked her watch and cursed. She was late. She’d stopped by her one-room apartment to dress in a long-sleeved black tee, dark jeans, and running shoes. She’d clipped her golden-brown hair into a messy bun and stuck a black ball cap on her head to cover it.
All so she could blend into the darkness. As if she were dressing up for a second-story job. Like Tom Cruise ready to zip down a wire.
Then she’d decided to pick up some supplies. The trip to the convenience store had taken longer than it should have because every drunk in the city had been in line to buy hooch for the night.
A nervous energy pushed her faster. She had to retrieve the relic, charge it, and then return to her coven before the magickal energy from the relic dissipated, because, then, the spell wouldn’t work. Why she in particular had been chosen for this task was a mystery, but there was a lot she didn’t understand about the murky underworld she’d entered a year ago.
Most of the time, she simply banked her irritation with things she didn’t comprehend and saved her questions, reminding herself that she was still a fledgling witch and the others expected her to learn the craft in measured layers.
However, even without the vampire booster shot she’d drunk, she wasn’t a patient person. Even though Magda and the other women who mentored her constantly hovered when she played with magick, she’d practiced in secret, honing her skills. They didn’t have a clue what she could do.
Which made the fact Magda had assigned her this mission even more mystifying.
“Bring me the mambo’s candle,” Magda had said, hands cupping Ingrid’s face so that their gazes locked for a long, terrifying moment.
Staring into Magda’s dark eyes, Ingrid had relived the moment when the Blood Countess had swept into The Absinthe House and whisked away four women—three vampires and Cassia, her coven sister.
Then more pictures clicked through her mind like an old-fashioned movie reel, of more of her sisters chained inside a dark, dungeon-like room with their eyes glowing, faces lax, while the Hell Bitch, Elizabeth Bathory, painted her skin with the blood of another victim. Of Bourbon Street in chaos while Bathory’s army of vampires tore through the district on a bloody rampage.
Why Magda had decided to show her those visions was another mystery she might never fathom. However, it had impressed upon her the importance of her task. The fate of the city rested on her shoulders.
Ingrid shook off the chill that crept down her spine. St. Louis Cemetery Number One loomed just ahead. Time to get serious.
She slung the plastic grocery bag over one shoulder and ran along the whitewashed, brick wall to the iron gate, which she scurried up hand-over-hand before swinging over the top of the iron rail at the entrance to the graveyard.
Power still surging through her veins, she nearly laughed when she landed. She crouched and gave a quick glance behind her to see if anyone had noticed, but those walking along Basin Street this late at night hadn’t seen the blur of her figure running beside the wall, much less her creepy, spider-like feat.
Her heart thrummed strong inside her chest. Her body felt powerful, her breaths came steadily, even though she’d had to rush. For the first time, she envied vampires.
Until she smacked her lips and once again tasted the metallic flavor of the blood she’d choked down.
Dumping out the contents of the bag, she raked through it until she found the box of colored chalk. She opened the package, discarding all but the purple piece, then knelt on the sidewalk and drew a crude purple heart with curlicues extending from the bottom point, a triangle beneath it, and bars across the top, middle and bottom that ended in crosses. Then she tossed away the chalk, closed her eyes, envisioning her goal, and prayed to the loa of the cemetery.
“Ma’man Brigit, goddess of this cemetery, please guide me to Marie Laveau’s crypt.”
She opened her eyes, stuffed the things she still needed into the bag, and lunged to her feet, running straight ahead, not waiting for an answer because she was well acquainted with this particular divinity. Ma’man Brigit admired confidence in a woman. Even more, her pride would be stroked that she’d been asked, rather than her husband, Baron Samedi, loa of the dead. And Ma’man didn’t like humans fumbling around her realm. Something Ingrid had learned in her secret studies of Voodoo, or Vodou, as practitioners called it.
Moonlight filtered down, striking the long rows of pale, above-ground crypts, illuminating their whitewashed and marble exteriors, some more than others.
“Thank you, Goddess,” Ingrid whispered as she dashed toward the brightest row. She turned, and one mottled, stucco crypt sat awash in moonlight, tall candles huddled against its base, coins sparkling on the ground, glittery Mardi Gras beads draped on sharp edges—all left by worshipers seeking advice or a special wish.
X marks marred the three-panel marble front of the crypt, a groundskeeper’s bane for sure, but she was about to add more. She knelt and dumped her sack atop the Glapion family marker—the supposed resting place of Marie Laveau and her daughters—picked up a candle scented with dragon’s blood, lit it and placed it in front of the door. Then she selected a red marker and drew three X’s on the crypt.
“Beautiful Madame Laveau, please open your door. I seek a talisman, one you entrusted to your daughter, Marie. Please grant my wish.”
She waited. Nothing happened. Sighing, she tried to think of something more “witchy”—and didn’t everything sound more magickal in Latin?
Again, she paused. Then, irritated because nothing was happening, she leaned over the jumbled mess of coins, beads and candles and shoved at one of the stone panels. “Dammit, I asked nicely.”
A throaty chuckle sounded behind her. Ingrid scrambled around, still on her knees, to behold the full-bodied figure of a woman dressed in long robes, her shape nearly transparent but glowing, shimmering at the edges like the aurora borealis.
“Your curse ensures the mambo’s privacy, gal.”
Ingrid felt the voice rather than heard it, as though it emanated from inside her head instead of from the wispy lips of the apparition.
“Ma’man Brigit?” Ingrid asked. Although the loa had answered prayers before, this was the first time she’d seen her.
The woman nodded then drew closer, bending so her face was inches from Ingrid’s. “Hmmm… The night creature’s blood is mo’ hindrance here than help, I think, li’l witch. It makes you proud.”
Ingrid swallowed an instinctive bitchy vampire retort, then offered, “I need your help, Ma’man.”
“So direct. So rude.” The loa tsked. “This be my realm you entered, my help you be seekin’. What you bring fo’ me?”
New on Pre-order!
Beaux Rêve Coven, Book 4
Coming October 22nd!
In Jefferson Parish, deep in the bayou, is a place called Bonne Nuit. Off the beaten path, isolated by swamp and connected to the sea, there the Beaux Rêve Coven thrives.
Five witches… Too many demons to count…
Radha’s sister witches become concerned when her health begins to fail. Her sleep is never restful, but they are unable to pinpoint what is wrong. Khan, a jinn who’s been tasked to serve as her guardian, has watched her restless sleep and believes he knows the answer. Her dreams are haunted by a Mare set on draining life from the witch who imbues the fabrics she weaves with magick.
As much as ancient jinn Khan loathes the idea, he seeks an old enemy, a Vanir, whose magic allows him to enter Radha’s nightmares to slay the Mare, an enemy bent on taking advantage Radha’s vulnerability to make her his own.